Time-Pressed Lunches

nina | June 20th, 2011 - 9:00 am

Time-pressed executives are ordering something new for lunch – fine dining at the speed of a drive-through window!

All across the United States, many white-tablecloth establishments are catering to their booked-solid clientele with a formal lunch that takes 30 minutes, from the initial order through dessert.  It’s not exactly fast food.  But the format does bring a new level of efficiency to a business ritual that otherwise can go on for an hour or more.

Menus and service are being modified to fit the 30-minute format.  Grilled fish and salads replace pork chops and steak; pastries and other desserts are preassembled. 

In less than a minute after a party sits down, the server arrives to take orders; bread and rolls arrive in less than four minutes and the entrees following in about 10 minutes.

There’s a shift of lunches from social to functional.  All of use are working harder than ever and have less time in our day to get stuff done.

Not every business executive is jumping on the band wagon for the 30 minute lunch.   Many executives use lunch to build rapport, having informal conversations for almost the entire hour.  Some are cautious not to rush a potential client through a meal, which may hurt a relationship.

Some restaurants that have switched to the 30-minute lunch menu are noticing a higher turnover and the lunch crowd has tripled from last year and become more profitable.

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